The GMA launched #GroundsWeek in March 2021 as part of its Grounds For Sport initiative where funds were reinvested into helping raise the influence and profile of turf-care and grounds management with the main objective to support growth and diversification of future workforces. #GroundsWeek came at a time when the sector needed to make its worth known most to the public, following arguably the most challenging year in the sector’s history. It was a valuable opportunity to make some noise about the importance of the sector and raise awareness about its role in making sport possible.
#GroundsWeek 2021 did just that – over 2,500 people mentioned the initiative on Facebook and Twitter alone, with high profile brands like Wembley, Wimbledon, and England’s national football team spreading the word to millions of their followers. We’re delighted that, after the tremendous success of the inaugural #GroundsWeek campaign, #GroundsWeek returned for its second year from 28 February – 6 March 2022 and with its return, the success of the week grew.
The objectives for #GroundsWeek 2022 were to, once again, celebrate the vital role the groundscare sector plays in community and professional sport across the country, whilst encouraging more people to consider careers in grounds management. Being an awareness campaign, media coverage of our news story was a key part of reaching new audiences and this year we achieved 48% more pieces of coverage than last year’s campaign, including coverage across national and broadcast media outlets, reaching 52.3 million people through coverage alone.
The quality of coverage stood out, with interviews with grounds staff on BBC Radio and a special segment dedicated to #GroundsWeek airing multiple times on ITV News across the country. With a 51% increase in social media activity using the #GroundsWeek hashtag, the key messages of #GroundsWeek reached a greater audience than before, with many clubs sharing in depth insights into their grounds teams, including Leicester City F.C., Durham County Cricket Club, Watford F.C., and Leicester Tigers amongst others. If last year’s #GroundsWeek was the start of something special, this year marked a key milestone in the growth of its success.
Through campaigns like #GroundsWeek, we’re aiming to create long-lasting change to benefit future generations so that people of all ages can play on safe, good quality pitches whether at clubs, parks or schools. We understand and value the role a groundsperson contributes to keeping the nation healthy and active while also growing the UK’s pipeline of sporting talent. Seeing increases in enquiries about getting involved in grounds management, and photos like the one below, gives us confidence that our efforts are working and this would not be possible without the support of the groundscare community or our #GroundsWeek sponsors, whose support helps broaden the GMA's activities and invest more resources into workforce development.
With the pandemic slowly becoming a thing of the past, with an engaged community of groundspeople and dedicated groundscare businesses, and with our partners at the National Governing Bodies backing our work, we’re confident that the groundscare sector will see more reasons to be positive about when #GroundsWeek returns in 2023 – and we cannot wait to celebrate with you all again when it does.
Thanks again to our wonderful #GroundsWeek sponsors:
John Deere, Nutrigrow, Origin Amenity Solutions, Premier Pitches, Redexim, Infinicut, SIS Grass, Kubota, ISEKI, Husqvarna, idverde, Sports & Turf from British Sugar, Turf Matters, Advance Grass Solutions, Reesink Turfcare & Barenbrug UK